How to Design Layered Cut Files

Calling all die cut designers (and aspiring die cut designers)! If you’re interested in learning more about designing your very own die cut files, today’s tutorial is just the thing you need. Last year, I shared a video series going over some of the basics of cut file design, and now I’m diving in a little deeper—teaching you how to create and prep more complex files. So strap in, and get ready to learn all about how to design layered cut files in Adobe Illustrator!

How to Design Layered Cut Files

The main tools you will be using:

The Pen Tool

Shortcut: P


Paste in Front

Edit>Paste in Front

Shortcut: ⌘F



Right Click>Transform>Reflect




Shortcut: ⌘J





Minus Front/Subtract

Window>Pathfinder>Minus Front/Subtract





Outline Stroke

Object>Path>Outline Stroke

Similar acorn designs to the the one I created in the video can be found here. I use a Cricut Explore to do my die cut designs, and I absolutely love it!

Whoo! Did you survive that? I know that was a pretty lengthy one, but jam-packed with lots of little tidbits of design info. This is by no means the only way to do things, it’s just my process. There are obviously many other tools you can use to achieve similar results, but I just thought it might be useful for you to see a few different ways I typically create layered designs.

Enjoy my latest tutorial! Hopefully you were able to learn more about how to design layered cut files, and now you’re ready to make some spectacular custom creations.

Miss Mandee Signature



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4 Comments on How to Design Layered Cut Files

  1. Marcela
    September 21, 2018 at 4:08 am (6 years ago)

    Thanks! Very useful 🙂

    • Mandee
      September 21, 2018 at 8:17 am (6 years ago)

      You’re very welcome Marcela! ^_^

  2. Dej Nag
    February 3, 2019 at 9:42 pm (5 years ago)

    I love your videos on cut files. How did you the title in Illustrator?

    • Mandee
      February 5, 2019 at 12:49 pm (5 years ago)

      Thank you! For the title, I just typed it out, placed it above the art board, and made a dotted border to go around it. 🙂


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